Google Assists MN Businesses With Free Web Sites

Google, a new member of the Minnesota High Tech Association, will host a two-day event in St. Paul to help Minnesota businesses set up Web sites and pick up tips about the company's various online services, including Google Places and Google AdWords.

Google, Inc., will host a two-day event titled “Minnesota Get Your Business Online” early next month-through which the state's businesses can receive a free Web site, among other services.

The announcement comes less than a month after the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) revealed that Mountain View, California-based Google had become a member of the organization.

An MHTA spokesman told Twin Cities Business earlier this month that Google hasn't revealed substantial plans for the state-but the company is looking to collaborate with Minnesota companies. This appears to be an early example of such collaborations, as well as an opportunity to market its own services.

At the event-which will be held September 9 and 10 at the St. Paul River Centre-“Google and friends” Web professionals will provide three one-hour workshops. The first will help businesses create and publish a Web site in less than an hour, including a free customized domain name, hosting for one year, and tips on search engine optimization. Participants will also receive and learn how to customize a Google Places listing-which can include a business' photos, videos, and special offers that appear in Google searches.

The second session provides assistance in using Google's small business tools, including Google Places, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and Google Apps.

The third workshop will provide an introduction to Google AdWords and teach businesses how to create an account with the service, choose keywords, write effective ads, and learn about Google's process for ranking advertisements.

The MHTA is among several sponsors of the “Minnesota Get Your Business Online” event. All portions of the event are free, and businesses are encouraged to register online. Participants are also encouraged to do a bit of homework before attending-including determining a goal for their Web site, selecting several URL alternatives, and bringing a few images on a disc or hard drive to load onto their new site.